The McAMS Yamaha team left the second round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike championship with a strong-points haul despite a challenging weekend at Oulton Park.
Finding a set-up for the undulating Cheshire track wasn’t easy with a number of disruptions throughout the weekend, including numerous red flags in Friday’s opening practice while both FP3 and warm-up were wet, limiting time to find the bike’s sweet spot for both riders. Despite this, both riders brought home a pair of top ten finishes from the two races with Tarran Mackenzie continuing to joint-lead the championship, now tied with Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell.
Starting the first race from fourth on the grid, O’Halloran got off to a strong start and sat comfortably in third before losing out to Danny Buchan in the second half of the race. He’d cross the line fourth, but his lap time would move him on to the front row of the grid for the second encounter. However, despite another strong start he’d drop back through the pack and cross the line seventh, later revealing he was struggling with a fractured humerus sustained in the crash at last week’s Oulton Park test.
Setting off from 12th on the grid in race one, Mackenzie made good ground on lap one until he outbroke himself at Lodge, re-joining in 17th. He’d fight back through to eighth. Starting race two from the third row, Mackenzie got off to a steady start but soon picked off the opposition, moving into fifth in the latter stages of the races, narrowly missing out on stealing fourth from Scott Redding on the final lap.
Tied with Tommy Bridewell on 64 points, Mackenzie remains championship leader while O’Halloran celebrated his first points of the season and sits ninth overall after the second round.
It was a difficult weekend for Matt Truelove, who went the wrong way with set-up and was unable to rectify this given the lack of track time. A DNF in race one would be followed by a 24th in the second race.
The next round of the Bennetts British Superbike championship takes place in three weeks’ time as the series makes the first of two visits to Donington Park between 24-26 May.
Race 1: 8th Race 2: 5th
“It’s been a tricky weekend, race one was difficult as I out braked myself into Lodge on the first lap, making it hard work for myself as I re-joined 17th! I managed to finish eighth which wasn’t too bad and then had a better starting position in race two. I got stuck behind a rider for a bit too long, two or three laps, but once I got past I managed to chase after Jason, Christian and Scott and finally caught Scott, but I was a little bit too late to take fourth! Fifth place doesn’t sound great, but after the weekend I’ve had I’m happy with that. We’ve got a good feeling on the bike and I’m looking forward to my home round in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Race 1: 4th Race 2: 7th
“It’s good to score some points! I was really happy with fourth in race one, but in race two I struggled a bit and ended up seventh. We had to salvage as many points as we could after not scoring at Silverstone, but it wasn’t easy as unfortunately last week at the test I had a small slip off at Hizzy’s and fractured my right humerus just near my shoulder… I haven’t said a lot about it as I wanted to keep my head down and everyone focused on what we were doing, but riding Oulton Park with a slightly broken bone is not ideal. We’ve got a few weeks now before Donington, so I’ll keep on with the therapy, get fit and healthy and hopefully be back to full fitness.”
Race 1: DNF Race 2: 24th
“It wasn’t the easiest weekend. If I’m honest, I think we went the complete wrong way with our set-up and didn’t realise until it was too late with the disruptions to the schedule. I think we convinced ourselves it wasn’t too bad as we were so quick in the wet, but the races were both really tough. We’re still learning and while it’s disappointing, it’s a good learning experience and I’m looking forward to getting to Donington Park and trying again.”
“It’s been one of those weekends where things didn’t seem to want to go our way, but the boys got their heads down and came home with some decent points, which is a good result as when you’re struggling it’s easy to push too hard and end up in the gravel with no points at all. Taz rode really well in the second race and all things considered, Jason has had a great weekend. Riding Oulton Park with that sort of injury can’t have been easy, so fair play to him. We now need to re-group and focus on getting back to the front for Donington.”